Science is a twisty-turny process of investigation that accepts or rejects ideas based on evidence. New evidence can revise what we know, and it’s a team effort. When scientists around the world or in different fields of study are able to collaborate on what they’ve observed and learned, their discoveries can make leaps and bounds beyond where they started.
“The word ‘scientist’ has only existed in English since the nineteenth century, but people from every corner of the globe have been figuring stuff out by observing the physical world for a long time.”
“For example, records of medicine and natural history date back hundreds and even thousands of years in ancient India, Greece, and China. Centuries ago, Maya astronomers precisely tracked the movements of the sun, moon, and planets—leaving behind calendars still used by their descendants today. And Indigenous cultures worldwide have developed rich understandings of the natural world through close observation.
“As a process of discovery and knowing, science has been formalized with the scientific method.”
Ramsey, aka Dr. Sammy, walks us through these six steps and explains how they get repeated and rearranged.
He also defines key vocabulary words—hypothesis, peer review, scientific theories, scientific laws, data literacy, and scientific models—in The Scientific Method, the second episode of Crash Course Biology, produced in collaboration with HHMI Biointeractive.
• The Scientific Method, a Khan Academy summary.
• The Scientific Method in Everyday Life, a K-8 lesson plan from Flocabulary.
• How Science Works, resources for grades 6-12 + college at HHMI Biointeractive.
Watch these related videos next:
• What is Life? Dr. Samuel Ramsey explains with Crash Course Biology
• The Scientific Method, animated
• What does the word ‘theory’ mean in science?
• What’s an Engineer? + The Engineering Process – Crash Course Kids